Texas AG: domestic partner benefits violate constitution
POSTED: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 6:01pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 4:25pm
(The Texas Tribune) — The state Constitution prohibits government entities from recognizing domestic partnerships and offering insurance benefits to those couples, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote in an opinion on Monday.
In the nonbinding opinion, Abbott determined that local jurisdictions that offer such benefits “have created and recognized something” — domestic partnerships — “not established by Texas law.”
“A court is likely to conclude that the domestic partnership legal status about which you inquire is ‘similar to marriage’ and therefore barred” by the state Constitution, he wrote.
The opinion was a response to a question asked by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who had raised concerns about the Pflugerville school district, as well as the cities of El Paso, Austin and Fort Worth, extending such benefits to domestic partners.
“The voters of the state of Texas decided overwhelmingly that marriage is between one man and one woman in 2005,” Patrick said in a statement responding to Abbott's opinion. “This opinion clearly outlines that cities, counties and school districts cannot subvert the will of Texans.”
House Bill 1568 — Muenster Republican Rep. Drew Springer's bill to revoke the accreditation and withhold funding from Texas school districts that allow employees to add a domestic partner to their health care plan — has made it through a House committee and is awaiting a vote in the full chamber.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/04/29/ag-benefits-domestic-partners-violate-constitution/.